A Houma man who sold heroin to two people who fatally overdosed last year has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Jardon Lee Smith, 32, was originally charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the 2018 overdose deaths of Sarah Pellegrin and Robert McCord. He was scheduled to stand trial this week but opted to plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter Tuesday evening during jury selection, prosecutors said.

Smith will formally be sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison, prosecutors said. Had he been convicted of second-degree murder, Smith would have spent the rest of his life behind bars.

“My concern was with the families,” said Assistant District Attorney Chris Erny, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Gary Williams Jr. “We felt we had a real good case, but this plea eliminates the risk of a trial. The families were satisfied with the outcome, so we were also satisfied.”

Smith sold heroin and fentanyl to Pellegrin and McCord, who overdosed on the drugs in March 2018. Houma Police linked the overdoses to Smith when they discovered both deaths had similar elements. Investigators concluded the drugs sold to the two overdose victims had come from Smith.

In one case, the defendant sold the drugs to the victim through a third party, police said.

Smith also had pending drug and weapons charges, which were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Erny said.

Family members will be given an opportunity during Thursday’s sentencing hearing to give impact statements which allows them to say on record how someone’s crimes impacted their lives.

Erny said he hopes Smith’s conviction sends a message to drug dealers.

“This is a homicide case, but it’s a little different,” he said. "No one pulled a gun or knife. This is where someone was dealing drugs and someone else used them and overdosed. This shows that drug distribution is not a nonviolent crime. We’re not tolerating drug dealers.”

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced 9 a.m. in District Judge George Larke Jr.’s courtroom.

--Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at dan.copp@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.